December 18, 2014, 03:17:34 PM

Author Topic: softbox  (Read 1530 times)

mandiwmarie

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softbox
« on: April 01, 2014, 12:56:14 PM »
I've invested in some alien bees and some softboxes.  AB400 and AB800 - a 32x40 softbox and a 30x60 softbox.  I'm in my basement and the 30x60 softbox seems so LARGE.  20'x40' area i'm working with with maybe a 7/8' ceiling height.  Is the 30x60 too big for my area? - (I mainly got it for photographing babies as I read the larger the softbox the softer the light) .  I'm shooting at different dof depending on how many people in the shot. 

I'm just starting out with indoor strobe photography so I'm a nervous wreck and having trouble trying to get everything to work.  When working with one light last night (800 32x40box)  I found that it gave off plenty of light at the lowest power that I'm wondering if I will be find with just light and a reflector?

Any thoughts or opinions

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softbox
« on: April 01, 2014, 12:56:14 PM »

SoullessPolack

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Re: softbox
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 01:29:59 PM »
Sometimes it's not only about the power of the lighting, but the quality/positioning/other factors of the lighting.  While one AB is often enough light for most situations, does not mean it is often the right lighting setup.  Clearly the height of the ceiling can become an issue with large softboxes as that, but there are workarounds if your main subject is babies.  If you start doing full sized adults, then that can become a limiting situation, if you ever want to get overhead lighting from the softboxes.

How much learning and research did you do before buying the lights?  I ask because I bought 2 AB's and softboxes also, but I bought those before even learning how to light properly.  Looking back now, and if I take up portrait photography again in the future, I plan on starting with 1 light, and learning as much as I can by using 1 light.  Once I feel I have gained knowledge and skill, then I would move onto a 2nd, and then repeat the process.

Either way, grab a good book on lighting.  I'm sure you can get some recommendations here (sadly I never went further with my ambition and so I don't know of any).  While the environment you have certainly does place some limits on your photography, many photographers work with lots of limiting factors, so don't let that stop you.  If the lights are too bright even on lowest power, consider using an ND filter.

dcm

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Re: softbox
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 01:47:31 PM »
Here's a previous discussion with some good book references.  I read a few books before I started acquiring the tools.  I agree with the advice to go one step at a time and get used to it before you move on.  Lighting tools work together so it's a bit more involved to try out the different combinations when you add a single new element. 

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=19872.msg
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mandiwmarie

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Re: softbox
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 03:22:20 PM »
Thank you for the suggestions.  I have read a lot and keep reading and sometimes I think it just makes me way more confused -lol  I plan on setting them up and playing around a bit - I have a 60 day return so I may be returning one of the lights and just start and practice with one and a reflector.  I was working with the small softbox and 800 yesterday.  Lots to adjust too - and I only had my dog to practice on.  Obviously my light is too high - you can barely see the catch light in the eye.  I'm thinking if I would have had a reflector on the other side it would have made for a nice fill.  I will just keep playing and reading  :o

FEBS

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Re: softbox
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 04:05:18 PM »
Light gears behave differently as lenses forinstance. A 400/2.8 will give better results then the 400/4.0 and also as the 400/5.6. You might say that the 400/5.6 might be sufficient for you, but 400/2.8 will always do much better except for weight and price. So the more expensieve gear the better results are possible.

This is however not the case for light. There you need the correct dimension and power for the situation. The 32x40 softbox for a baby is more then sufficient from point of size. Indeed the light will be softer when the softbox is bigger, however the lengte of a baby will be about 20 to 25 inches. So a softbox of 20x25 would-be enough, as the light will not come straight out of the softbox but under an angle. Also, the closer the softbox is positioned to the subject, the softer the light will be. However the closer the light the more output will be on the subject. So, in this case also the minimum power of your light is important. And that is why the bigger/more expensive will not be better. You might use a nd filter to reduce a few stops, however for light gears you really need lights depending on the situation, and not the biggest or most expensive.

I did follow classes during the last 2 years and had great opportunities to experiment this all. So I would not directly advice a book, but hands out. It seems to me the only way to find out how lights and their modifiers work in practice.

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Old Shooter

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Re: softbox
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 05:17:32 PM »
I would keep both lights - yes, a reflector will work for fill - but you usually have to have them very close to your subject(s)... I like to dial in a very light fill with my strobe...

I have (4) PB's - I like to be able to light the background, rim/hair light, main, and fill - the BEST thing about PB stuff (IMHO) is the WYSIWYG modeling lamps... Hopefully you bought one of their controllers so you can take advantage of adjusting your light ratios from behind the camera and not running around to all your lights...

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scottkinfw

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Re: softbox
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 10:00:30 PM »
I think this is a great shot.  I also think that it is good to be critical of your work so that you can grow.  However, you decide on the look you want out of your photo and if this is what you are going for, so be it.  Any way you cut it, always keep improving.

sek

quote author=mandiwmarie link=topic=20286.msg383294#msg383294 date=1396380140]
Thank you for the suggestions.  I have read a lot and keep reading and sometimes I think it just makes me way more confused -lol  I plan on setting them up and playing around a bit - I have a 60 day return so I may be returning one of the lights and just start and practice with one and a reflector.  I was working with the small softbox and 800 yesterday.  Lots to adjust too - and I only had my dog to practice on.  Obviously my light is too high - you can barely see the catch light in the eye.  I'm thinking if I would have had a reflector on the other side it would have made for a nice fill.  I will just keep playing and reading  :o
[/quote]
sek Cameras: 5D III, 5D II, EOS M  Lenses:  24-70 2.8 II IS, 24-105 f4L, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 300 f4L IS, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8 Flashes: 580 EX II600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT
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Re: softbox
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 10:00:30 PM »

Halfrack

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Re: softbox
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 11:35:29 PM »
Just to confirm, what camera/lens combo and what shooting settings are you working with?  Drop down to ISO100, f8 and see how much power you end up needing.  There are times when speedlights work well, for just a touch of light, but nothing compares to what you can light up with a studio strobe.  Inside you may not need the power, but take it outside and try to balance with the sun, and you'll want everything the PCB gives you.

Light placement is a matter of opinion.  One guy I respect says to get the light into the frame, then back it up an inch.  A current trend is the 7' umbrellas, previously it was ring lights, so pick your modifier of choice and have fun. 
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mandiwmarie

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Re: softbox
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 07:42:59 AM »
thanks for the info.  I'm only working with a canon rebel - have for five years now.  I have a full frame coming on Friday, finally decided to upgrade to the 6d. So on top of strobe lighting to learn, I will get to learn a new camera too.   This next one was taken with my canon rebel - 50mm 1.8  (ISO 200, F3.5 and shutter 1/200) All in all the color is flat but it looks "natural" lighting wise and that is what I'm going for.  I will just keep playing around until I get the look I like.  I used both bee's and both softboxes with this one. 

Hannes

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Re: softbox
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2014, 12:53:53 PM »
thanks for the info.  I'm only working with a canon rebel - have for five years now.  I have a full frame coming on Friday, finally decided to upgrade to the 6d. So on top of strobe lighting to learn, I will get to learn a new camera too.   This next one was taken with my canon rebel - 50mm 1.8  (ISO 200, F3.5 and shutter 1/200) All in all the color is flat but it looks "natural" lighting wise and that is what I'm going for.  I will just keep playing around until I get the look I like.  I used both bee's and both softboxes with this one.

First step would be to stop down to at least f8, probably f11 or so would be better. Keep iso at 100 and you can easily keep shutter speed a bit lower such as 1/50-1/100th to be certain there is no chance of black bars in the photo.

The important thing to realise with strobe photography is that only the aperture and the iso will affect how much light is on the subject, shutter speed will only make a difference if there is ambient light to consider which you probably won't have much of in a studio. Since you are using mains powered strobes there is really no reason to go above the best performing ISO which for canons is either 100 or 160 depening on model. Aim for a small aperture as you want them sharp. If your backdrop is wrinkly stand them further away and put a light on it as much as possibly from a perpendicular angle as it "smooths" out the creases. Having them stood away from the backdrop will also mean that you don't get their shadows on it.

As more of a general tip, the photo you posted makes my eyes really confused as you have the leaning kid, the leaning stripes from the floor and a large straight watermark. Having photos at a slant very rarely makes them better.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 12:56:18 PM by Hannes »

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Re: softbox
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2014, 12:53:53 PM »